3 Vikings QB-of-the-Future Trade Possibilities
The Minnesota Vikings didn’t extend the contract of quarterback Kirk Cousins. For the first time in his tenure with the purple team, he is entering the final season of his contract. The duo of GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have to find his successor shortly.
They can do that in three different ways. The most commonly used is the draft. Every regime wants to find its guy. Many draft experts like the possibility of the Vikings selecting Hendon Hooker. Minnesota hasn’t drafted a passer in the first round since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. Kellen Mond in the third round in 2020 was the closest. In addition to the draft, the Vikings could bring in a free-agent quarterback, something they did in 2018 when Cousins joined the organization. However, there is a third way — to add someone via trade.
3 Vikings QB of the Future Trade Possibilities
Some quarterbacks who are the odd man out on their teams and need a fresh start somewhere else are available. The Vikings could use one of the situations to their advantage and get a once highly-regarded passer for a discount compared to their draft position.
Mac Jones, the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots, might be available. Reports surfaced that the Patriots tried to trade him away in the current offseason. Jones was a first-round pick in the 2021 draft. The Vikings passed on him and traded down while Jones was on the board. Minnesota is certainly happy with that because they picked left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who has been fantastic for the purple team. The Vikings initially held the 14th overall pick. The Patriots selected Jones with pick 15.
The young quarterback had a great rookie season, winning the starting job over Cam Newton and looking comfortable in Week 1. He had the luxury of playing on a team with an elite defense, and playing as a game manager was good enough to lead the team to the playoffs with a 10-7 record. Unforgettable is the win against the Bills when Jones attempted three passes in heavy wind. His numbers of 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions were decent for a rookie. After the year, he landed higher on the NFL Top 100 list than Cousins.
In his second season, Jones struggled. The lack of an offensive coordinator in the building might have hurt him after the departure of longtime Patriots offensive mastermind Josh McDaniels, who became the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jones showed excellent accuracy and decision-making in the right system but struggled in his second season because of dysfunction. His best game came against the Vikings, a defense that let every QB look like Tom Brady. His numbers of just under 3,000 yards, 14 TDs, and 11 interceptions were underwhelming through 14 games.
If the Vikings would get the rookie version of Jones and develop him, he could be a great find, but if he is the Year 2 Jones, a trade would be a disaster. He doesn’t have the upside teams nowadays are looking for, and his non-mobile pocket passing playing style is perhaps too similar to Cousins, a style that fans of the team aren’t very happy with.
The third overall pick of the 2021 draft, Trey Lance, cost the San Francisco 49ers three first-round selections. He spent his rookie year sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo and was supposed to be the starter in 2022 but fractured his ankle in the second game of the season and missed the remainder of the year.
Garoppolo started in his place until he suffered an injury. It became Brock Purdy’s show. The rookie played at an extremely high level and led the team into the NFC Championship game. Purdy has earned every right to be the starter in the upcoming season, even with Lance back healthy.
Lance is still just 23 years old and has excellent mobility to be an exciting player in the future. He certainly has the highest upside of the players on the list. He was the third overall pick for a reason, so he could be a bargain for a mid-round pick. He has two more years left on his rookie deal and a potential fifth-year option.
Unlike the first two players, Corral was not a first-rounder. He was selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers. The quarterback suffered a foot fracture in last year’s preseason and missed his rookie campaign. Carolina had problems at the QB position, so Corral might have gotten some run if healthy.
Corral is the odd man out because the Panthers recently traded up to the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. They can now pick their favorite of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis.
Corral played in Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense. The scheme is built around run-pass-options and one-read plays, so he was hard to evaluate. However, his accuracy was universally praised, and he is a decent athlete and mobile enough to be a running threat. It’s unlikely that the Panthers have any long-term interest in keeping him, so he should be a cheap trade target. He can develop into a starting-caliber QB or be a backup on a cheap deal, which most likely only costs a late-round pick.
None of the three candidates should cost more than a mid-round draft pick, but all have some potential, possibly more than the QBs the Vikings can get with that pick.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt
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